See the Vacuum for the TREES! How your choice of vacuum affects the planet…

Earth Day - Miele VacuumHaving just passed the celebration of Earth Day, we figured it would be fitting to talk about how your personal choice of vacuum cleaner affects the WHOLE PLANET!! Okay, that was a little dramatic. But like many actions we take in the name of being “eco-conscious,” some have greater benefits or consequences than others. Every little thing we do really does matter in some way.

Here at our vac shop we’ve met some really amazing, intelligent and conscientious folks; so mindful of where and how they shop. “All-natural, fair-trade, sustainable, eco-boost, low-carbon footprint…” Their food, furnishings, cars and more have all been acquired with great care. However, why do the majority of these same “green,” Prius-driving folks make the absolute worst choices in vacuum cleaners?! We hope no one takes offense to this observation! But from our perspective, it’s a rather disturbing and ironic trend. So, why is that happening?!

When it comes to making a “green” vacuum (or other appliance) purchase, many people can’t see the forest for the trees… Caught up in advertising hype they’ll buy something that sounds “eco-friendly”…typically because it doesn’t utilize a “disposable” dust bag. “Oh my – all of those bags going in the trash is terrible” they think. But instead they’ll have mistakenly settled for an entirely disposable machine – yikes!! The landfill issue is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the negative impact a poor-quality vacuum can cause to your home environment and to the larger environment of our earth. We have articles galore discussing a vacuum’s effect on indoor air quality. Others illustrate the fine balance between deep-cleaning and over-aggressive cleaning’s destruction of floors and furnishings. We should take good care of what we have and not be wasteful, right? Spewing dust and/or wrecking stuff just aren’t green. So, let’s keep this short and sweet with some specific advice…

Here are Queen Vacuum’s Top 5 Tips for being kinder to the Earth:

  1. STOP repeatedly buying crappy, disposable vacuums!
  2. Whatever vacuum you have, MAINTAIN it by keeping it clean, replacing it’s bags, filters, belts, etc. at the correct intervals to keep it healthy.
  3. REPAIR your vacuum when it’s broken or just needs basic servicing (don’t waste money and resource by throwing it out.)
  4.  Buy a good QUALITY bagged vacuum (like by Miele), ONCE and for good (it takes a lot more resource to build a new vacuum than to fix an old one.)
  5. If your vacuum truly is pronounced a “goner” by our repair tech, let us RECYCLE it! Certain parts can be separated and recycled, rather than fill up the landfill.

If “going green” is one of your goals, there’s no need to drive yourself nuts. But before you pitch your old Hoover or run out to buy something new, perhaps consider some of these concepts… Learn a little about how and where things are made. In general, how much energy and resource is consumed in a product’s manufacture? How effectively do they work and how long will they last?  Ask yourself: WHY you are seeking “green?” Is it for your personal health, environmental impact or perhaps both? Answering these questions will help guide your purchase. Just make sure your priority is clear as you might not be able to have it all.

Really think before you buy… get some perspective by doing a little homework and consulting an expert. Talk and do business with real, live industry professionals (ahem!) Be cautious of infomercials, random e-reviews and certain rating companies/magazines (which typically lack vital long-term perspective and/or produce very inconsistent, unscientific results.) Remember that these tips will apply to a whole lot more than vacuum cleaners. Let us all make a greater effort to stop, step back and look at the BIGGER, long-term picture of how our purchases affect the planet! And who knows – the trees might thank us one day!

Never Trust a Pine Needle! …or a sock, for that matter.

Pile of Pine NeedlesI think it’s about time we had a talk….an important talk about how to play it safe when faced with temptation. Oh, this may be the season of peace and joy – but don’t kid yourself. Dangers lurk around every corner. Ice, snow, empty calories…ha! Those are mere child’s play. I find that the most menacing and destructive forces are those that are inconspicuous, appear common, or seem harmless. Fear the sneaky ones…the little “straws” that break camels’ backs.

Sure, everyone will be doing it: Tediously trimming trees of every shape and size; “Sprucing” up the house with dazzling arrays of evergreen boughs, bows and baubles; Frantically tidying in preparation long-awaited guests. But don’t let the egg nog cloud your judgement…this is a recipe for disaster. In fact, this is the time of year your vacuum cleaner dreads most! It cringes at the memories of last year: Being crashed into furniture, swerving precariously through a gauntlet of loose ribbons and tacks, and choking desperately on shattered glass and you guessed it…pine needles!

Let’s face it…you see that sprinkling of tiny, unassuming pine needles on the floor and dutifully take measures to eliminate the mess. You grab your trusty vacuum, detach the hose and watch with delight as they get sucked into oblivion. Admit it – you even enjoy the delicate “piney” perfume your vacuum acquired in the process. Well, by New Year’s you might have noticed that the evergreen aroma has been replaced by the acrid stench of burning rubber – or worse yet, burnt-up motor! SO WHAT HAPPENED?

If you want to relax and enjoy your holidays, make sure you keep your vacuum happy. Treat it with respect and it will serve you well and without frustration. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SUCK UP PINE NEEDLES! And though your holiday may become hectic – also be on the lookout for loose items on the floor like ribbons, pet toys and socks! The most common consequences of sucking up these items in your vacuum are belt breakage, or badly clogging the vacuum’s suction hose. That rogue sock can get lodged in the vacuum’s nozzle, stopping the brushroller and causing the drive belt to burn up (and smell!) And even just a small bunch of pine needles can clump together in a fashion that makes a tight, impenetrable web, clogging the hose! You’ll know this has occurred when you go to vacuum shortly afterward and there’s no suction or “pick-up.” Finding and removing this clog can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. If you’re not careful, you can puncture the hose or cause damage to the electrical wires that are inside some models. But if you neglect the clog long enough, the vacuum’s motor can strain so severely that it will eventually short out! That’s an expensive situation I think you’d rather not encounter.

So do your best to SWEEP those little buggers up. A few stray needles left around the house can be safely vacuumed – but heed my warning and don’t ever let your guard down! However, if you find yourself in a bind, don’t ever be ashamed to stop in Queen Vacuum for help!

What did you learn? How does it apply to you?
More questions…Call or write us – we’re always happy to help!

Your Vacuum is NOT a Garbage Can!

Take it from us (and Oscar, here)…There is stuff you should never suck up with your vacuum – no matter how harmless it looks! vacuum-not-garbage-can

I shamelessly solicited topic advice for this newsletter while I was on Facebook one day. My cousin posted a great question… “Are there certain things you should NEVER vacuum up? What I thought was going to be used as a quick Q&A piece turned into a full blown article. Lucky you!

The simple answer is “Oh, YES!” There are plenty of vacuum NO-NO’s I can list off the top of my head! Being in the repair business, we see the consequences of sucking up a whole host of bizarre things. But for the sake of this article, let’s look at stuff vacuum users have mistakenly THOUGHT would be OK to suck up…

TOP TEN things you should never pick up with your vacuum cleaner (and WHY!):

10. Live Bugs – If you use a bagless vacuum, this isn’t the best idea. You might want to wait until you’re sure all critters are dead before you empty the dirt collection bin! 

9. Broken Glass / Ceramic – If you use a bagless vacuum you risk getting cut by these particles when you empty the dirt bin or clean the filters! Also at risk of getting cut is the vacuum’s drive belt, or hoses. Big chunks can break the vac’s fan, or cause clogs. Only certain vacuums (like Miele, that use a very thick cloth disposable cloth bag) can handle this material safely.

8. Coins or Pebbles – Hard, heavy (albeit small) objects like these can obstruct the brushroller and break the belt, or worse – in certain machines, shatter an upright vacuum’s fan.

7. Staples / Paperclips / Bobby Pins – These can obstruct the brushroller, tear up the belt, or get stuck sideways and cause clogs.

6. Pine Needles, Paper Shreddings or Leaves – These also tend to cause terrible clogs in the hose, and fill your bag prematurely (wasteful….just sweep that stuff up, silly.)

5. Dirt – I don’t care what commercials or advertisements show…flower pot dirt and muddy dog tracks is ALIVE and usually is moist (see below.) Sweep up as much as you can, let the area dry, and then vacuum gently.

4. Kitty Litter – The fine dust clogs the bag and filters, and (obviously) breeds nasty smells and bacteria inside the vacuum!

3. Water / Moist Stuff – You know not to vacuum puddles, but many folk’s vacuum areas that are still damp. The moisture breeds mildew, “sludges up” the brushroller housing and may rust the vac’s motor.

2. Food – Anything perishable or moist will rot inside the vacuum. Greasier foods slime your internal housing and hose. ‘Nuff said! Dry spills like rice, pretzels or a small amount of flour is safe. Dry cereal is ok too, unless is has been touched by milk.

Drum roll Please….

1. Baking Soda / Powders / Sheetrock Dust – This type of fine particulate seems harmless, but can quickly clog the tiny pores of your vacuum’s bag and/or filters. A very small amount is fine…But too much and the vacuum clogs, suffocates and the motor may short out prematurely!

Moral of the story? Your vacuum cleaner is NOT a garbage can! Use a little common sense, and WHEN IN DOUBT – THROW IT OUT. Pick up, sweep up or blot up the questionable item or substance on your floor instead of letting your poor vacuum cleaner consume it!